Microsoft's eagerly awaited new model in its video game console line is almost here, and in theory you'll be able to shell out an as-yet-unspecified amount of money for the by the end of this year. As of now, we're in the portion of the prerelease cycle in which Microsoft and Sony -- also slated to release its own console this year -- leapfrog each other with feature and spec reveals.
We have a clearer picture of what to expect from the Xbox Series X, short of the types of answers we can only get by actually booting one up and using it (such as how well Microsoft showed off a handful of games that will be available around the launch and beyond.works), including specifics like the configurations, storage capacity and so on. And in early May,
The May reveal was the first of Microsoft's monthly livestreamed updates about the console, itsand other related services, dubbed "Xbox 20/20."
The new series logo also appeared, thanks to a new "Optimized for Xbox Series X" badge that some games will bear.
The Xbox Series X enters a game that looks very different than when its predecessor, the gaming and the handheld console, as well as nascent cloud-gaming options, for your entertainment time and money.arrived three years ago. Though technically it's competing with other living room consoles (i.e., the PlayStation), in practice it's now challenged by hugely popular phone-based mobile
What's the Xbox Series X release date, and how much will it cost?
Microsoft says it will ship this year, we think likely around the same time as the PS5. In 2013, the Xbox One launched a week after the PlayStation 4, which came out in mid-November.
As for price, that's also still unknown. On one hand, the COVID-19 , and shortages invariably drive prices up. Microsoft continues to say that the Xbox Series X launch won't be impacted.cost $399 when it launched in the US in 2005 and the cost $499 when it launched in 2013, as did the subsequent flagship Xbox One X in 2017. But supply constraints for popular components such as memory and storage were already even before due to
In a podcast with IGN on April 1, Xbox boss Phil Spencer says he's feeling "good" about the new system's price. "I feel good about the price we're going to be able to get to," Spencer said. "I feel good about the price and the performance capabilities that we have for Series X. I feel incredibly strong about the overall package."
What are the Xbox Series X's specs?
The console's based around AMD's current-generation Zen 2 processor architecture plus a graphics processor using AMD's forthcoming RDNA 2 micro-architecture, so presumably built on the Navi 7-nanometer process.
The system's CPU is an eight-core custom Zen 2 processor running at 3.8 GHz (3.66GHz with simultaneous mutlithreading). Its GPU is a custom RDNA 2 processor at 1.825 GHz with 52 CUs that will create 12 teraflops. This puts Microsoft's new console among some of the.
Other hardware includes 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, a 1TB SSD, an HDMI 2.1 connection carried over from the previous model and an Xbox Velocity Architecture, which will let developers make use of up to 100GB of game assets instantaneously. There is also a 1TB expansion drive for the system that will provide even more storage for games and have the same functionality as the internal SSD.. The SSD will incorporate a new feature called
A proprietary 1TB Seagate expansion drive will be able to plug into the back of the Xbox Series X providing extra storage for games. It's designed to have the same architecture as the internal SSD, allowing for the same performance. External drives can still work with the Xbox Series X, but they can only store game data and will need to transfer games to the console's SSD or expansion drive in order to play.
Unsurprisingly, it incorporates Microsoft's Windows 10), notably its GPU support for DirectX Raytracing and Variable Rate Shading (DXR 1.1). In combination, these all will allow the Xbox to drive higher frame rates -- 4K resolution at 120 frames per second -- with variable rate refresh support when connected to compatible TVs or monitors (i.e., they have an connection)., the latest version of the company's graphics programming interface (which is in
As for the actual size of the new console, it will measure 151mm by 151mm by 301mm (approximately 6 by 6 by 12 inches).
|Processor||8-core AMD Ryzen Zen 2-architecture CPU at 3.7-3.8GHz|
|Graphics||AMD Navi/RDNA 2-family GPU with 52 CU at 1.825GHz (12TFLOPS FP32)|
|Video memory||16GB GDDR6 with 14Gbps 320-bit interface (10GB at 560GB/s allocated to GPU, 6GB at 336GB/s allocated to rest of system with 3.5GB for GPU)|
|Storage||1TB NVMe SSD; proprietary 1TB SSD add-on module; USB 3.2 external HDD support|
|Optical drive||4K Blu-ray|
|Maximum output resolution||8K|
|Maximum frame rate||4K/120fps|
|New controller features||Share button, Dynamic Latency Input|
|Backwards compatibility||Xbox One and supported Xbox 360 and Xbox games|
|Subscription tie-in||Xbox Game Pass|
|Release date||Thanksgiving 2020|
With all the updated components, the Xbox Series X certainly seems like a big step up from its predecessor. The solid-state storage will allow faster startup of games and shorter loading screen times compared to the previous models', even for older games. While the updated processor vaguely has "four times the processing power of the Xbox One," any speed update helps and will apply to all games as well.
For games that incorporate it, the DXR acceleration gives developers the opportunity to render far more accurate lighting, shadows and reflections without negatively affecting performance and without a lot of the optimization overhead otherwise required. And VRS, which lets developers choose where they can save processing power while rendering a frame based on how visually important an area is and how noticeable a slightly rougher render might be, means that games integrating it may also be able to sustain higher frame rates with better-looking graphics in select scenes than they might otherwise have had.
In addition to supporting variable refresh rates -- which lets the console sync game frame rates with compatible TVs or monitors to minimize artifacts like stutter and tearing caused by mismatches -- HDMI 2.1 adds LG for at least a year. Keep in mind that to run 4K/120p, you'll need an HDMI 2.1 connection in the TV or monitor as well., or Auto Low Latency Mode, which automatically sets the display to its lowest latency mode, and has been available in TVs from manufacturers like Sony and
Microsoft's bringing back Quick Resume, a feature it introduced and then deprecated about five years ago. Previously, it allowed you to suspend (rather than exit) a single game and pick it up exactly where you left off, but now it will be able to do so for multiple games.
Will Xbox One and older games work on it?
Microsoft says yes, going back as far as the original Xbox, and that many of them will play and look better, thanks to the aforementioned upgrades that apply to every game running on the console. Of course, the devil's in the details when it comes to compatibility, so we'll have to wait for hands-on tryouts to find out how broadly it applies.
Unlike the transition from earlier generations, though, this one should go more smoothly. The new hardware is mostly just faster versions of the previous components, and the last Xbox One operating system also used DirectX 12 and supported HDMI 2.1, or at least nothing that requires emulation or rewriting.
Microsoft will be introducing at least one new feature to improve the experience of running multigenerational games: Smart Delivery. When you pay for a game, it gives you the rights to that game for both Xbox One models and the Series X and automatically chooses the correct version -- but it's also optional for developers and publishers, and isn't clear whether it applies to older games you've already paid for. It also seems to be intended to encourage upgrading from the Xbox One to the Series X without discouraging game-buying for the older console: "This technology is available for all developers and publishers, and they can choose to use it for titles that will be released on Xbox One first and come to the Xbox Series X later."
Thus far, 12 games have announced support for Smart Delivery, including Microsoft's , CD Projekt Red's upcoming sci-fi RPG , , Hellblade 2 and others.
Will there be a new controller, too?
Yup, though not as radically redesigned as the console, and it will be backward-compatible with older models. It's based on the current model but has a reworked D-pad and a share button. Microsoft has also done some work on reducing the wireless lag -- and thereby increase the responsiveness -- between the display and the controller with what it calls dynamic latency input.
The D-pad, triggers and bumper also have a tactile matte finish to give the controller a bit more grip when playing.
Another aspect of the controller staying the same is the use of AA batteries instead of a built-in rechargeable battery. Microsoft says this choice was to keep the flexibility for those gamers who want disposable batteries and those who prefer rechargeables.
Microsoft has all 15 of its studios working on games for the console, but we had the .
In addition Halo: Infinite, expected to be a launch title, we also know about a sequel to Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice from its Ninja Theory studio, Senua's Saga: Hellblade II, that will be an exclusive. Notable titles confirmed for the console (launch-proximate in bold):
- Assassin's Creed Valhalla
- Battlefield 6 (2021)
- Call of the Sea
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Dirt 5
- Gods and Monsters
- Halo: Infinite
- Hellblade II
- The Lord of the Rings: Gollum
- Rainbow Six Siege
- Scarlet Nexus
- Second Extinction
- The Ascent
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
currently still in preview. You'll also be able to hand off games from the console to PC or mobile device via integration. (The service, also in beta, lets you play Game Pass games on your phone or tablet that are running on remote pseudo Xboxes rather than on your local console.)will continue to be the major vault subscription option for the console; though Microsoft hasn't mentioned it explicitly, it's also likely that the Series X will offer -- a feature that lets you play Xbox One games on your phone that are running on your console -- which is